Part 3

    a) Amnesty International press release
    b) Joint press release from AI and the Federation Internationale
    des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH)
    c) A letter from the FIS representative in the US to the UN general
    secretary calling for an international investigation in the massacres
    d) A press release from AI condemning the passivity of the UN
    e) A press release from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
    
    =================================
    
    Item 3-a
    
    * News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
    International *
    AI INDEX: MDE 28/47/97
    23 DECEMBER 1997
    
    ALGERIA: WHEN THE STATE FAILS
    
    Violence in Algeria has reached unprecedented levels this year, with the
    slaughter of thousands of civilians (many of them women and children)
    decapitated, mutilated or burned alive in their homes.  It is not
    sufficient, however, simply to catalogue the atrocities that have left
    some
    80,000 people dead. Beyond the grisly statistics there is a crying need
    to
    challenge the official version of events put forward by a government
    that
    washes its hands of civilian deaths by attributing sole responsibility
    to
    "terrorist groups."
    
    How credible is this account?
    
    Consider, first, that most of the recent massacres have taken place in
    the
    most militarized region of the country - and often in the shadow of army
    barracks and security forces posts. The cries of the victims, the sounds
    of
     gunshots have been within earshot, and flames from burning houses have
    been visible in the distance. In some cases army units with armoured
    vehicles were stationed nearby, yet no one intervened to stop the
    massacres. How is it possible that large bands of attackers could make
    their way to a village, crossing main roads in highly controlled areas,
    carry out killings over several hours and then leave, unaccosted, on
    each
    occasion?
    
    Secondly, most massacres have taken place in areas where a large
    percentage
     of the population had voted for the now banned Islamic Salvation Front
    (FIS), before the cancellation of the electoral process and the
    imposition
    of the state of emergency in 1992.  Victims of recent massacres included
    FIS supporters, people who offered either active or passive support to
    armed "Islamist" groups, and individuals who had refused to join
    state-armed militias. Some of the massacres have allegedly been
    committed
    by groups acting on the instructions, or with the consent, of certain
    army
    and security forces units.   Is it not possible that through the
    massacres,
     the government is physically seeking to "eradicate" the Islamists it
    has
    vowed to destroy politically?
    
    Thirdly, it may not be economic accident that the recent massacres have
    clustered around the Mitidja plateau near Algiers.  This is the most
    fertile region of Algeria: its 500, 000 acres were once the jewel of
    French
     colonial agriculture.  After independence, the land was nationalized
    and
    later farmers acquired the right to its permanent use. Recent efforts to
    privatize this land have sparked intense debate, and some fear that much
    of
     this rich land may finally wind up in the hands of  powerful interest
    groups.  Who stands to gain from massacres which have forced villagers
    and
    peasants to flee from the area?
    
    These questions implicitly challenge the simplistic explanation -
    offered
    by Algerian officials to the international community - that the
    atrocities
    owe their sole origins to a conflict between a government that would
    protect "democracy" and "terrorist groups" seeking to establish an
    "Islamic" regime.
    
    Unquestionably, armed groups calling themselves "Islamic" have committed
    the worst atrocities in the name of "holy war."  But likewise,  terrible
    abuses have been committed by those who claim to defend "democracy" and
    the
     rule of law.
    
    ==========================================
    Item 3-b
    
    1998/01/11
    
    Amnesty International, the International Federation of Human
    Rights (FIDH), Human Rights Watch and Reporters sans
    frontie[\]res join together to appeal to the international
    community to act now to address the deteriorating human rights
    situation in Algeria, and are calling on members of the United
    Nations Commission on Human Rights to convene a Special
    Session on the human rights situation in Algeria.  As the UN body
    with primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of
    human rights, we look to the Commission on Human Rights to
    provide leadership in seeking solutions to this human rights
    tragedy.
    
    The last year has seen the longest, most intense spell of
    violence since the beginning of the conflict in Algeria five
    years ago. Violence which has taken a new and terrifying turn
    with the massacre of civilians.
    
    Thousands of people -- women and children, the poor and elderly
    --have been massacred with unspeakable brutality. Some of those
    lucky enough to have escaped having their throats cut or being
    burned alive in their homes have reached nearby security forces
    posts and called for help. In vain.
    
    Their cries have not been heard in their country, or beyond their
    national borders. Up to  80,000 people have been killed behind a
    virtual wall of silence on the part of the international
    community.
    
    Recent statements of the UN Secretary-General, the UN High
    Commissioner for Human Rights, UNICEF and the UNHCR condemning
    the massacres of civilians and other human rights abuses in
    Algeria go some way towards breaking through the barriers of
    silence surrounding the crisis.  But words are not enough.
    
    The international community has for too long turned a blind eye
    to the plight of the victims in Algeria, despite the warnings
    sounded by human rights organizations. The UN Commission on Human
    Rights has so far not scrutinized the situation. It is time to
    take concrete action to end this spiral of violence and to ensure
    the protection of the civilian population.
    
    The need to investigate and reveal the truth is the first step to
    finding solutions to this human rights tragedy.  For this reason,
    we are calling for the establishment of an international
    investigation to ascertain the facts, examine allegations of
    responsibility and to make recommendations in respect of the
    massacres and other abuses by all sides in Algeria. Such an
    investigation has to be provided with broad powers, adequate
    staff and resources. It should collect evidence, statements,
    including testimony from victims, witnesses and responsible
    officials, to discover the truth.
    
    Since the outbreak of the current conflict in 1992, extrajudicial
    executions, deliberate and arbitrary killings, torture, rape,
    "disappearances" and hostage-taking have become routine. The
    large-scale massacres of civilians over the past year have taken
    place against a background of increasingly widespread human
    rights abuses by security forces, state-armed militias and armed
    Islamist groups, which have increasingly targeted and terrorized
    civilians.  Disregard for human rights has become the rule rather
    than the exception. This is despite the fact that Algeria has
    ratified important international and regional human rights
    treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and
    Political Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
    Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the African
    Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
    
    Time after time, the Algerian Government has simply failed to
    investigate these abuses by its own forces and by armed
    opposition groups, and to bring those responsible to justice.
    This failure has exacerbated the breakdown of law and order and
    left civilians feeling ever more alone and unprotected.
    
    The complex reality of violence and counter-violence has become
    increasingly confused with the clampdown on information and
    investigations.
    
    ============================================
    Item 3-c
    
    Subject: Algeria: FIS calls on UN to set commission to help investigate
    massacres
    
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    Source: Islamic Front for Salvation (FIS, Algeria)
    Date: Wed, 5 Nov 1997 12:56:07 -0600 (CST)
    Email: fisalgeria@themis.host4u.net
    Title: Open Letter to the General Secretary of the UN
    
    TEXT:
    
      
    ______________________________________________________________________
    
                            Islamic Front for Salvation
                                  (FIS - Algeria)
                                 Delegation Abroad
                                 Information Bureau
      
    ______________________________________________________________________
        http://www.fisalgeria.org/                Email: mail@fisalgeria.org
      
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
       November 1st, 1997
    
                                   AN OPEN LETTER
    
                          TO THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE
    
                                   UNITED NATIONS
    
    
    
       Considering the recent upsurge of massacres and collective killings
    of
       civilians in Algeria, under the watchful eye of the regime and its
       impassiveness, the Islamic Front for Salvation, the party of the
       majority in Algeria, and the sole holder of constitutional legitimacy
       in the country, we demand on behalf of our people, and specifically
       the families of the victims, the prisoners, the tortured and the
       disappeared an urgent intervention of the United Nations in order to
       stop the bloodshed by sh edding light and breaking the walls of
       silence on the events in Algeria. We demand the setup of an
       International Commission to investigate the crimes which have been
       taking place and to follow-up on its findings in order to bring the
       perpetrators and thos e who commanded them to justice.
    
       The Islamic Front for Salvation is ready for a full cooperation with
       such a UN Commission, and also to play a constructing role in
       mediating with the Mujahideen organizations who are faithful to its
       political line in order to establish the full fac ts surroundings
       crimes attributed to them, and determine the responsibilities. This
       position is taken despite our full conviction that the Mujahideen
    have
       no relation with the crimes being perpetrated against civilians. The
       Islamic Front for Salvation loo k forward to see the International
       Commission of Inquiry pressing to demand from the ruling regime to
       remove the political cover ton the generals and other military and
       intelligence officers who, in the view of the FIS are behind the
       crimes being committe d.
    
       The Islamic Front for Salvation calls for an investigation of the
       crimes listed below, while safeguarding the security and safety of
    the
       witnesses. The FIS insists on a full prosecution of the authors i.e.,
       those who gave the orders as well as thos e who executed them:
    
       1.All the recent massacres.
    
       2.The Sahara desert detention camps and the gross human rights
       violations surrounding them.
    
       3.The problem of torture and torture centers throughout the country.
    
       4.The cases that have had wide media coverage and have been exploited
       by the regime to seek international support and intensify its
    campaign
       of repression against our people. Such as the true circumstances
       surrounding the death of the Psychiatrist Bouc ebci and Katia
    Bengana.
    
       5.The "ratissage" of popular neighborhoods during 1994 and 1995.
    
       6.The case of the torture center of the Amirouche Central Police
       Station.
    
       7.The cases of collective massacres inside prisons: Berrouaguia in
       1994 and Serkadji in 1995.
    
       8.Investigate the testimonies given by former police and military
       officers who sought refuge abroad.
    
       9.The case of Benathmane Bouathria who was expelled from Belgium and
       died under torture in Algeria.
    
       10.The assassination of Abdelbaki Sahraoui in France, and the bombing
       of the Paris Subway.
    
       11.The infiltration of the ex- GIA by Gen. Smail Lamari and its
       transformation into a terrorist antiguerrilla group controlled by the
       state.
    
    
    
       The Islamic Front for Salvation looks forward to see the Commission
       shedding some light into the cases listed above, determine the
       responsibilities and publish its findings.
    
    
    
       Sincerely Yours,
    
       Anwar N. Haddam
    
       President Parliamentary Delegation Abroad
    
    ______________________________________________________________________________
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    =========================================
    Item 3-d
    
    Subject: Amnesty Algeria Lobby in New York
    
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    Source: Relay; Originally posted on amnesty-L
    Email: 
    Title: Amnesty Algeria Lobby in New York
    Date: Wed Nov 19 19:26:28 1997
    Original poster: Dr Lawrence Morton
    Email: 
    
    TEXT:
    
    *******************************************************************************
    
    CRISIS RESPONSE NEWS
    
    Amnesty International Crisis Response (Canada)
    
    AICR on the World Wide Web
    
    http://www.charli.com/amnesty
    
    *******************************************************************************
    
    19 November 1997
    
    The section describing the UN's refusal and reasons for not convening a
    special session on Algeria at the request of AI makes interesting and
    frustrating reading - LM.
    
    ALGERIA*ALGERIA*ALGERIA*ALGERIA*ALGERIA*ALGERIA*ALGERIA*ALGERIA*ALGERIA*ALGERIA*
    
    * News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty
    International * AI INDEX: MDE 28/38/97
    
    18 NOVEMBER 1997
    
    ALGERIANS: FAILED BY THEIR GOVERNMENT
    AND BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
    
    STATEMENT BY PIERRE SANE[/], SECRETARY GENERAL
    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
    
    NEW YORK,  18 NOVEMBER 1997
    
    Today Amnesty International is taking its lobbying campaign on Algeria
    to
    New York because we want to challenge United Nations member states to
    stop
    averting their gaze from the Algerian tragedy and start taking  real
    action
    to bring some relief to the Algerian people.
    
    Let me start by giving you some basic facts:
    
     Some 80,000 people have been killed since the outbreak of the conflict
     in 1992;
    
     This year alone Algerians have been slain in their thousands with
     unspeakable  brutality -- decapitated, mutilated and burned alive in
    their
     homes;
    
     Many of the massacres have been within shouting distance of army
     barracks, yet cries for help have gone unanswered, the killers allowed
    to
     walk away unscathed;
    
     Torture, "disappearances" and extrajudicial executions have become
     part of the daily reality of Algerian life;
    
     And what action has the international community taken? None;
    
     This last point is as disturbing as the grizzly catalogue of abuses.
    
         Few member states of the UN have spoken out on the situation in
    Algeria, and those which have done so have made mostly bland and
    generalized statements of concern
    
        The UN Commission on Human Rights has failed to address the plight
    of
    the victims in Algeria
    
         The Organization of African Unity has failed to respond to the
    human
    rights situation in Algeria
    
         The European Union has hidden passively behind a self-created wall
    of
    ignorance, claiming they don't have full information on the abuses in
    Algeria yet taking no action to instigate or support investigations
    
         No expert mechanism of the UN has visited Algeria in the six years
    of
    horror
    
    In the mean time, children and women have continued to die, and that is
    why
    Amnesty International added its voice to calls for action made by other
    non-governmental organizations.
    
    Last month, we joined with the International Federation of Human Rights,
    Human Rights Watch and Reporters sans frontie[\]res to call for a
    Special
    Session of the Commission on Human Rights and the establishment of an
    international investigation to get the facts, determine who is
    responsible
    for abuses, and make recommendations.
    
    We have been lobbying governments around the world, sent letters to
    foreign
    ministries and issued an open letter to all governments two weeks ago.
    
    We're here today to call again on governments to take action, including
    those who have to date responded with what I can only describe as
    insupportable excuses.
    
     They have argued that the Algerian authorities will never allow a
    human rights  investigation into the country
     They have hidden behind each other by claiming that there is no
    political will for a Special Session of the Commission on Human Rights
     They argue that such a Special Session is not needed because the Third
    Committee of the UN is currently meeting here in New York, but this
    committee has so far taken no initiative on the Algerian crisis
    
    All this against the backdrop of recent statements by the UN Secretary
    General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNICEF and UNHCR
    condemning the massacres of civilians and other human rights abuses in
    Algeria. These words are welcome, but start to sound hollow when they
    are
    followed only by the hedging of governments and not by action.
    
    We can think of no other country where human rights violations are so
    extreme, where civilians have been targeted to such an extent, and yet
    where there has not even been international scrutiny let alone action by
    the international community.
    
    In other countries with similar levels of torture, "disappearances" or
    political killings at least experts have visited or monitors have been
    sent
    or political resolutions have been passed.
    
    Governments cannot claim to be ignorant of the violations, especially
    the
    massacres of the past year.
    
    Most of these massacres have taken place in areas around the capital
    Algiers, in the most militarized region of the country.  As I said
    earlier,
    some of the villages where the massacres were committed -- sometimes for
    hours on end -- were close to army barracks and security forces posts.
    Yet
    the army and security forces did not intervene, neither to stop the
    massacres nor to arrest the killers - who were able to leave undisturbed
    on
    each occasion.
    
    Let me give you some recent examples:
    
    On the night of 11 July in Bou-Ismail, west of Algiers, a family of 12
    were massacred;
    On the night of 28 August in Rais, south of Algiers, up to 300 people,
    many of them women and children, even small babies, were killed and more
    than 100 injured;
    On the night of 5 September in Sidi Youssef, on the outskirts of
    Algiers, more than 60 people were massacred;
    And on the night of 22 September in Bentalha, south of Algiers, more
    than 200 men women and children were massacred;
    And in the past few weeks, hundreds more have been killed in a series
    of massacres of a dozen or more people at a time.
    
    The recent massacres have taken place against a backdrop of increasingly
    widespread human rights abuses and violence over the past six years.
    
    Security forces have been responsible for extrajudicial executions,
    "disappearances", and torture.
    
    Armed groups which call themselves "Islamic groups" have killed,
    abducted
    and tortured civilians.
    
    And militias armed by the state have been responsible for deliberate and
    arbitrary killings.
    
    The government's attempt to lay the blame for all killings squarely on
    the
    shoulders of "terrorist groups" and wash its hands of any civilian
    deaths
    is a disgrace.
    
    It is true that armed groups have killed many civilians and committed
    terrible atrocities, but it is also true that security forces who should
    be
    protecting the population have been responsible for many killings of
    civilians.
    
    The authorities have also been arming civilian militias to join in the
    "anti-terrorist fight". Thousands of the these groups are now operating
    outside the law effectively as vigilantes, many headed by relatives of
    people killed by armed groups who want to seek revenge.
    
    In doing this, the government has not only abdicated its responsibility
    for
    law and order but also drawn civilians ever more into the centre of a
    conflict in which they are increasingly the victims.
    
    This escalation of violence against the population and erosion of law
    and
    order belies the statements by the authorities that the security
    situation
    is "under control" and that "terrorism is residual".
    
    The security situation is certainly under control in the south, the
    north-east and north-west of the country, in areas dotted with oil and
    gas
    refineries and outlets, where foreign oil companies are indeed well
    protected.
    
    But in others parts of Algeria, especially in poor areas where oil and
    money do not flow, the civilian population, increasingly impoverished,
    is
    denied the protection of the state and lives in fear of massacres and
    attacks.
    
    There is also little protection for the population in the areas where
    the
    massacres have taken place, areas where large numbers had voted for the
    now
    banned Islamic Salvation Front in the 1990 and 1991 elections.  It is in
    these areas that armed "Islamist" groups have had most support after the
    beginning of the conflict, even though many people may have supported
    these
    groups out of fear of retaliation.
    
    This is also the area with the richest agricultural land, where the
    privatization of land is an issue of intense and controversial debate
    among
    fears that much of this rich land may end up being grabbed by powerful
    interest groups.
    
    There have been allegations that some of the massacres were perpetrated
    with the aim of punishing the local population for having supported or
    failed to denounce armed groups, and to force villagers and peasants to
    flee and abandon the land.
    
    Accepting the argument of the Algerian authorities that the massacre of
    tens of thousands of civilians is an "internal affair" may be an easy
    option for those who do not - for whatever reason - want to know the
    truth
    and who do not want to stop the killings.
    
    But human rights are not just an "internal affair"  or an issue of
    national
    sovereignty especially when citizens are being slaughtered en masse week
    after week and when disregard for human rights has become the rule
    rather
    than the exception. Algeria cannot be above international scrutiny.  Why
    should it be?
    
    The need to investigate and reveal the truth is the first step to
    finding
    solutions to this human rights tragedy.  For this reason, we are calling
    for the establishment of an international investigation to ascertain the
    facts, examine allegations of responsibility and make recommendations in
    respect of the massacres and other abuses by all sides in Algeria.
    
    Such an investigation has to be provided with broad powers, adequate
    staff
    and resources. It should collect evidence, statements, including
    testimony
    from victims, witnesses and responsible officials, to discover the
    truth.
    
    The tragedy of the situation in Algeria in now universally recognized,
    and
    it is time for action to stop the massive human rights violations and to
    ensure the protection of the civilian population.
    
    ENDS.../
    
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    =========================================================
    Item 3-e
    
    ____________________________________________________________________________
    
    Subject: ADC: Arab Americans Strongly Condemn Bloodshed in Algeria
    ____________________________________________________________________________
    
    Source: American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
    Email: adc@adc.org
    URL: http://www.adc.org
    Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 23:09:02 +0000 (GMT)
    Title: Arab Americans Strongly Condemn Bloodshed in Algeria
    
    TEXT:
    
    For Immediate Release:
    January 8, 1998
    
    Contact: Sam Husseini
    (202) 244-2990
    
    Arab Americans Strongly Condemn Bloodshed in Algeria
    ADC Calls for Action by Arab League
    
    --Washington, D.C.: The Arab American community has watched with growing
    shock and concern the mounting carnage in Algeria. Tens of thousands of
    Algerians have been killed in the civil war that began after the
    authorities canceled elections in 1992.  There have been scores of
    massacres with hundreds of people being butchered and there seems to be
    no
    end to the human suffering. This tragedy must end forthwith and the
    culprits must be brought to justice.  The ADC condemns all those
    culpable
    irrespective of their political affiliations. The focus should be on the
    well-being and unity of the Algerian people as the driving force for any
    credible peace efforts.
    
    The president of the ADC has sent letters to the Secretary Generals of
    the
    League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Conference asking
    these organizations to take immediate action that ensures the security
    and
    safety of the Algerian people. These organizations can ensure the
    integrity of information coming from Algeria so that criminals can be
    identified and remedies found.
    
    This bloodshed can no longer be tolerated and we appeal to all
    Algerians,
    whose liberation struggle was a monument to human freedom, to set a
    course
    for their country based on peaceful understanding.
    
                                           -- 30 --
    
    (Note to Editors: AD
    




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